Real Music & Real Estate . . .

Yiddishe Cup’s bandleader, Bert Stratton, is Klezmer Guy.

He knows about the band biz and – check this out – the real estate biz too. So maybe he’s really Klezmer Landlord.

You may not care about the real estate biz. Hey, you may not care about the band biz. (See you.)

This is a blog with a gamy twist. It features tenants with snakes and skunks, and musicians with smoked fish in their pockets.

Stratton has written op-eds for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post.



I knew a building inspector who could smell rats.  That’s what he claimed.   He didn’t have to see the droppings.

I knew a custodian who could jimmy almost any apartment door with a credit card.

My dubious talent is figuring if a tenant has skipped out or not.

First, the tenant hasn’t paid his rent. That’s a given.  I knock loudly on the tenant’s door.  No answer.

I yell “maintenance” a couple times, and bring out the master key. I yell “maintenance” a third time, and I step into the apartment.

A couch, a bed . . . always. Skippers leave behind the heavy stuff.  TVs too.  Everyone upgrades his TV on move-out.

Some small items stay behind: beer bottles, pennies, unopened bills.  Usually enough to fill three or four garbage bags.

The stove: cooked.

The refrigerator: always missing a couple crucial shelves.  Why?

Underwear and socks . . . gone.

No socks, no tenant.  The guy definitely skipped.

Some of his clothes are jumbled on the closet floor. Decent stuff too.  Skippers are usually too anti-social to take items to Goodwill.

I found a tux left behind.  The guy was 6-4.  I had the pant legs shortened.  (He wasn’t a skipper.  He was a dead man. And his place was clean.)

I enjoy wrecked apartments. So would most people, I bet.  It’s like staring at a car crash.  Most of my building managers like trashed apts.  (Some managers make extra money on the cleanups.)  One manager would gleefully phone me with on-the-scene reporting: “It looks like a cyclone went through here crossways!”

The rat hole tour isn’t for everybody. One young manager passed on a good show.  “I’m creeped out,” she said, standing in the apartment corridor, while I went into the suite.

What’s to be creeped out by a few bottles of beers, cat urine and cigarette butts?

Afterward, I sometimes phone the skipper to make sure he’s definitely gone.  I say, “You out yet?” No lectures about housekeeping.

Nobody likes to be criticized on his cleaning skills. And he might come back for his DJ magazines — and me.
2 of 2 posts for 10/28/09

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